Ronaldo relishing Inter battle

Cristiano Ronaldo is predicting a "titanic" battle between Manchester United and Inter Milan in the San Siro tonight.

The world player of the year is aiming to be part of the first side to retain the Champions League trophy since it was formed in 1992.

But there could have been few more arduous tests than the runaway Serie A leaders, who United meet at the same last-16 stage Jose Mourinho knocked them out at in 2004 with eventual winners FC Porto.

And, while Ronaldo is confident the holders will get through, he recognises Inter will not be disposed of without a mighty battle.

"It is going to be a titanic fight," he said.

"Inter are top of Serie A which tells you immediately they are a good team who are going to give us a tough game.

"But we are playing well, which should give us confidence. We just have to be ready."

With fellow countryman Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson at odds over when the tie will actually be decided, Ronaldo prefers to concentrate on what would be a good result for the visitors.

Like his manager, the star winger acknowledges United's formidable home record will give them a chance to progress providing their injury-hit squad avoids a similar calamity to the one they suffered on their last visit to the San Siro two years ago when AC Milan scored three times without reply to cause Ferguson more semi-final heartache.

"A good result is a win but if we draw it is not bad because Inter know it will be difficult to beat us in Manchester," added Ronaldo.

Ferguson will take a late check on the fitness of John O'Shea and Jonny Evans before finalising his line-up.

O'Shea is more likely to shrug off the pain of a sore heel than Evans is to battle through an ankle injury, but if either are fit it would at least give Rio Ferdinand a partner in central defence.

Fabio Da Silva - whose twin brother Rafael is absent with an injured ankle - and Darren Fletcher stand by to fill the right-back slot.

"My options? I panic!" said Ferguson, only half-jokingly when asked what he would do if both his Irishmen were ruled out.

"I suppose I could play Dimitar Berbatov as a sweeper."

At a time when plausible rivals on the domestic front are disappearing, the United chief is relishing a meeting of minds with Mourinho, who has only lost one of their previous 12 head-to-head duels.

There has never been anything worse that a healthy rivalry between the two men, with opinion growing that Mourinho will one day succeed Ferguson at Old Trafford.

And, as he enjoys a fabulous climax to his own career, Ferguson credits Mourinho's arrival in England for giving his team the edge they had lost.

"When Jose came there was a great upsurge at Chelsea," he said.

"I remember he uttered those words 'I am the Special One' and it seemed to galvanise the whole club. They won the first two titles under his management and their starts just caught us on the hop.

"By the time we got to October in that first season we were trying to play catch-up. It gave them the upper hand over everyone really."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral